17 December 2012
Take a seat and enjoy Jane Kubiesa’s guide to choosing the perfect miniature dolls house armchair for your needs. ...
1. …to add animal magnetism
This magnificent armchair from the workshop of miniature artisan Desirée Lafuente is both quirky and original in design. It would be at home in a number of settings and could easily suit several different periods. For fans of the Victorian period in 1/12th scale, this chair could become part of a hunting or trophy room surrounded by animal skin rugs and wall-mounted animal head trophies. For miniaturists creating a tribal village, this armchair could take centre stage as a king’s throne or for those wanting to make a modern interior in tribal or New York Loft style, this chair could double as a work of art and a seating place. The African Throne 1 features faux fur covering and fimo horn detailing on a wooden frame, with brass embellishments. There are four throne designs to choose from.
Price: (approximately) £400
2. …to reinvent chintz
A famous Swedish furniture company may have urged us to ‘chuck out the chintz’ a few years ago, but chintz is back and is more stylish than ever. Chintz originally referred to glazed calico fabric with floral printing, but today describes any kind of heavy floral pattern on any printed or embroidered surface. This armchair from The Dolls House Emporium reinvents chintz for the small scale. The combination of the modern square shape of the chair and the bold floral fabric mean it could be the ideal addition to almost any dolls house space, from a pretty bedroom filled with floral patterns, to a modern kitchen featuring units in any of the chair’s colours, to a traditionally designed sitting room. The armchair has a matching three seat sofa.
The Dolls House Emporium
3. 3. …for a space age finish
Look to the future of the armchair and this miniature by Mari Speridião could well be what lies in store for the dolls house. With its clean lines, space age looks and industrial finish this little seat could find itself at home in a space ship or concept home of the future. Whilst it is technically an armchair because it has arms, it could also be used as a dining chair, a futuristic carver chair or console seating for the crew of that spacecraft. It is available painted in silver, gold, black or white and comes upholstered with a yellow, red, black, blue or raw cotton seat. Several variations of this design are on offer, alongside many other items of industrial and utilitarian style furniture.
Price (approximately): £10
4. …for Gothic appeal
The earliest chairs with armrests were known as arm chairs or elbow chairs and the Gothic Elbow Chair from the mid to late 18th century is a perfect example. It features intricate carving from the Gothic revival style of the Georgian period, including the characteristic pointed arches to mimic church design. Made by Colin Bird, this piece is finely carved and complete with elbow rests and a saddle indent in the seat. Colin specialises in wooden 1/12th scale period furniture and makes more than 20 styles of arm chair.
Colin Bird Miniature Furniture
5. …to showcase William IV style
Between 1830 and 1837 William IV ruled England and his short-lived reign heralded a new style of interior decoration which bridged the divide between the Regency and Victorian periods. It favoured rosewood, mahogany, turning or pedestals for legs, marquetry for table tops and open scrolling and curves for furniture arms and backs. In true William IV style, the library chair from The Dolls House Emporium has a curved seat and loosely scrolled arms. It has turned front feet and splayed back feet and buttoned detailing to the burgundy upholstery. Pair it with period style stools and tables with x-shaped legs, scroll armed dining chairs with tapered legs and single pedestal dining tables to achieve this look.
The Dolls House Emporium
6. …for light reading
These types of chairs were created in the 18th century for use in libraries. The reader would place their open book on the raised desk area, whilst seating themselves facing the back of the chair. Some models had folding desk flaps and period drawings show that some also had attached brackets for candles. The reading, library or straddle chair was also called the cockfighting chair as it was often depicted in period paintings of cockfights. Now miniaturists can own a little piece of history in the form of the reading chair. This 1/12th scale version has leather effect upholstery and carved detailing to the legs and just like the large scale version, it features a desk flap and upholstered armrests.
Price: See website
www.uol.hk or stores.ebay.co.uk/dollhouseshopuolhk
7. …for the Edwardian sitting room
As an antidote to Victorian excess, the Edwardians favoured simpler home decorations and looked for furnishings which were less ornate. Whilst the darker shades from Victorian homes fell from fashion in most rooms of the house, the parlour or sitting room still featured those darker colours. Green and brown upholstery were particular favourites, as they fitted in well with the fashion for floral prints and were dark enough to hide any staining or wear and tear, making them longer lasting. With this important quality in mind, Edwardian chairs often had the addition of an antimacassar - removable coverings for the back and arms of chairs and sofas, which offered protection against the popular macassar hair oil. These covers were either purchased or made by the housewife and generally came in matching sets. Add a miniature set of covers to this armchair by 1 Inch Minis and your Edwardian look is complete. This hand-crafted miniature boasts a period style floral fabric, curved arms, heavy cushioning and turned wooden legs with tiny metal castors.
1 Inch Minis
Price: See website
8. …for wingback opulence
Wingback chairs evoke thoughts of roaring open fires and lounging in style, alcoholic beverage in hand. This is partly the reason the original design was created at some point before the 1700s - as a fireside chair. The extended sides which create ‘wings’, at head height and sometimes also at the elbows, were thought to provide protection to the face from open fires, to block out draughts and also to keep warm air circulating around the body. Early versions of this chair used in Europe and America were wooden armchairs with added seat cushions for comfort. Later versions showcased the style of legs and wings en vogue at the time, with some wing styles being named the ‘bat’ or ‘butterfly’ style. These chairs were fully upholstered in the fashionable fabrics of the period, for example the Victorians preferred their wingbacks covered in leather with heavy buttoning - a fashion still favoured today. The miniature wingback comes courtesy of American artisan Gail Steffey. It comes in green or wine coloured leather with a buttoned back and features claw and ball feet made by UK artisan John Hodgson. Matching footstools are also available. Add a pair of wingbacks to your Victorian or contemporary miniature room set either side of a hearth as originally intended.
Gail Steffey @ John J. Hodgson
9. …for comfort
With an expanse of soft black leather, padding and a roomy seat, what could be more inviting than this miniature armchair? An armchair with the addition of a matching ottoman, for putting your feet up, of course! Dress this comfy seat with a throw, a newspaper or book and a designer coffee and you’ve got the perfect sitting area for a modern lounge, coffee shop or bar. The ottoman could double as a coffee table or a footstool. The matching pair is handmade from leather and cherry wood and forms part of a range of exquisite leather sofas and chairs.
Price: (approximately) £370
10. …for the bedroom
These close stools were popular prior to the installation of indoor plumbing and would often be placed in the bedroom. They were designed to look like a normal item of furniture, in this case an armchair, and had a bed pan attached below the seat. Once it was possible to have an indoor toilet, these chair designs often transferred to the bathroom. This miniature version, called the Toilet Throne, has a walnut finish, lift up seat, shaped arms and a Gothic revival style arch. Its chain detail could represent a toilet flush in plumbed homes, or a bell pull to summon servants to empty the commode in homes without plumbing.
Melody Jane Dolls Houses
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